Our lifelong nostalgia

door, opening the

Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both the glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.

–C. S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory

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Published in: on 04/10/2013 at 4:06  Leave a Comment  
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The day is coming

paradise 4

All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 04/02/2013 at 21:07  Leave a Comment  
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The Real Story

07-04-JoyofUnion

All the best stories which have been told or lived out before this are like dreams compared to the real story that we will all eventually wake up into. That story is one that never ends, ‘in which every chapter is better than the one before.’

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 03/18/2013 at 1:25  Leave a Comment  
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With or without Him—forever

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If your life is Christ, then your death will be only more of Christ, forever. If your life is only Christlessness, then your death will be only more Christlessness, forever. That’s not fundamentalism, that’s the law of non-contradiction.

–Peter Kreeft
Jesus-Shock

Published in: on 01/13/2013 at 20:36  Comments (1)  
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The blunder of bookkeeping

hell_or_heaven__by_yongl-d4lkj73

In heaven, there are only forgiven sinners. There are no good guys, no uptight, successful types who, by dint of their own integrity, have been accepted into the great country club in the sky. There are only failures, only those who have accepted their deaths in their sins and who have been raised up by the King who himself died that they might live.

But in hell, too, there are only forgiven sinners. Jesus on the cross does not sort out certain exceptionally recalcitrant parties and cut them off from the pardon of his death.

He forgives the badness of even the worst of us,
willy-nilly; and he never takes back that
forgiveness, not even at the bottom
of the bottomless pit.

Heaven 8

The sole difference, therefore,
between hell and heaven is that in heaven
the forgiveness is accepted and passed along,
while in hell it is rejected and blocked.

In heaven, the death of the king is welcomed and becomes the doorway to new life in the resurrection. In hell, the old life of the bookkeeping world is insisted on and becomes, forever, the pointless torture it always was.

–Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment
(emphasis added)

The first sketch

Bellìsimo Atardecer

Heaven is that greater glory
of which Nature is only
the first sketch.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 12/30/2012 at 20:54  Leave a Comment  
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Who does the knocking?

Most of us have grown up visualizing God as ensconced behind the thick walls of His heavenly fortress while we’re banging our fists on the door trying to persuade Him that we’re good enough for Him to let us in. But Revelation 3:20 pictures us inside and God outside knocking on the door, trying to persuade us that He is good enough for us to let Him in. God is the one on trial, not us. We are deciding whether He’s the kind of God we want to spend forever with.

–Dan Smith

This is not heaven

For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face;
now I know in part,
but then I shall know fully
just as I also have been fully known.
(1 Cor. 13:12)

God wants us to know right up front that this is not heaven on earth. He knows me intimately, and He also knows that I don’t know Him in the same way.

Sometimes we can fatigue ourselves greatly
in a never-ending quest to feel
closer and closer to God.

We feel second-rate, because our knowledge of God is so imperfect. Of course we are right in one sense; none of us knows our Creator the way we should, the way we long to. But the true fulfillment of those desires awaits another age. To know that my present dim apprehension of God is only to be expected is incredibly comforting. I am eager for more, but I don’t have to thrash myself with guilt for not knowing God better.

The important thing now is not that I know God,
but that He knows me.

One day He will lift the veil totally and irrevocably in a way that all my spiritual strivings never could.

–Ron Julian
(emphasis added)

Living in the analogy

Everything I experience and feel
before I arrive at that heavenly home
amounts to mere analogy.
Everything in my heavenly home
is consummate expression.

–Ravi Zacharias

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Waiting for the real world

Think of yourself just as a seed patiently waiting in the earth: waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking. I suppose that our whole present life, looked back on from there, will seem only a drowsy half-waking. We are here in the land of dreams.

But cock-crow is coming. It is nearer now than when I began this letter.

— C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 10/01/2012 at 12:07  Comments (1)  
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Destined to utter satisfaction

The mold in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions…

All that you are, sins apart, is destined,
if you will let God have His good way,
to utter satisfaction.

But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.  Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it – made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/22/2012 at 8:13  Leave a Comment  
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Not home yet

Our Father refreshes us
on the journey
with some pleasant inns,
but will not encourage us
to mistake them for home.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/20/2012 at 5:57  Leave a Comment  
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Eternal childhood

Perhaps this will be one of the supreme tests: would we choose the childlikeness of Heaven or the promise of “maturity”, of “humanity come of age” in Hell? Will we suffer gladly the blow and shock to our pride that is Heaven’s gift of eternal childhood (thus eternal hope and progress) or will we insist on the “successes” of “self-actualization” that Heaven denies us and Hell offers us? If the latter, we will find despair instead of hope, ennui [boredom] instead of creative work, and the emptying out of all our joy.

Jesus’ teaching, “Unless you turn
and become like children, you will
never enter the kingdom of Heaven”,
is not something to be outgrown.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, when asked which are the four most important virtues, replied, “Humility, humility, humility, and humility.”

–Peter Kreeft

Heaven breaking through

All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of the seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world . . .

–William Law
(1686‑1761)

World-affirming spirituality

[There should be] grateful celebration . . . among us, uninhibited by our lingering evangelical asceticism.  For the truth is that a world-denying Gnosticism has not yet been altogether eradicated from our theology and practice.

Instead, we pride ourselves on our super-spirituality, which is detached from the natural order, and we look forward to an ethereal heaven, forgetting the promise of a new earth…

We should determine, then, to recognize and acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate, all the gifts of the Creator: the glory of the heavens and the earth, of mountain, of river and sea, of forest and flowers, of birds, beasts and butterflies, and of the intricate balance of the natural environment; the unique privileges of our humanness (rational, moral, social, and spiritual), as we were created in God’s image and appointed his stewards; the joys of

gender, marriage, sex, children, parenthood and family life, and of our extended family and friends; the rhythm of work and rest, of daily work  as a means to cooperate with God and serve the common good, and of the Lord’s day when we exchange work for worship; the blessing of peace, freedom, justice and good government, and of food and drink, clothing and shelter; and our human creativity expressed in music, literature, painting, sculpture and drama, and in the skills and strengths displayed in sport.

–John R. Stott

The Dance of God

Our concert of praise
To Jesus we raise,
And all the night long
Continue the new evangelical song:
We dance to the fame
Of Jesus’s name,
The joy it imparts
Is heaven begun in our musical hearts.

–Charles Wesley

The Greek noun perichoresis was the early church’s favourite word to describe the interrelationship of the holy Trinity. When the prefix peri (around) is linked with the root of the verb choreuein (to dance), a compelling metaphor is formed or “choreographed” to describe the “one nature in three persons” of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Literally they “dance around.” The choreia or dance of God is the choreography of the cosmos, the interrelationship of Creator, creation, and life itself, the holy creativity of the All in All.

The dancing metaphor of the holy Trinity is envisioned and embodied as a circle dance. The dance of the triune divine is moving, active, eternally both transcendent and immanent, and flowing together in a joyful harmonious, rhythmic and resonant celebration of life…

As we join the Lord of the Dance in the art of pilgriming (being on the way), we form a community of followers, each relationally on the move and invested in each other’s life. The body of Jesus becomes a whirling life force, wherein each member of the growing body becomes aligned with Christ and at one with God. The implication of the dance of the Trinity is that all persons dance a dance of mutual love, breath together the breath of life, and pour out to one another in mutual giving…

O Lord . . . you changed
My mourning into dancing . . . .
Forever will I give you thanks.
Psalm 30:11-13 NAB

The Bible is filled with stories of dancing. These dances are not planned, scripted ballets but improvised songs of freedom and hope. They aren’t performed by trained and seasoned professionals but are initiated in the joyful celebrations of the common people of God…

Jesus invites us all to dance, though not all follow. “We piped to you, and you did not dance.” But look what happens when we do. As followers fall into sync with Jesus, we enjoy not just synergy with him but a syncopated and synchronous movement together. The rhythms of the Jesus life echo within the movements of the Spirit’s music until we are singing and dancing together in a beautiful and diverse harmony. The dance of Christ is a world dance.

The Holy Spirit is starting new dances
in every part of the world.
When we dance the dance of God,
we follow the Spirit’s lead.

The time is now, and the dance is eternal. Don’t sit this dance out. Life is a speedy season. Buds burst in smelly spring; fruits delight in fertile summer. Leaves change colors in inflamed autumn. Trees fall in whitened winter. Dance while you can. The world doesn’t need more conversations so much as it needs more dancing.

When you stumble,
make it part of your dance.
–Anonymous

. . . The perichoresis of God is a dance of love that moves and flows through the ins and outs, ups and downs of all of life’s joys and travails. The circle of our dancing is a powerful movement of shared com(passion)…

To join the dance of the Spirit, we need to break out of our square lines and ballroom boxes and let the Spirit draw us in. The dance of the perichoresis is a unity of sound and sight, a unity of followers of Jesus, and a unity of God and world.

Heaven is much too serious a place for work.
It will be all dance and play there.
–C. S. Lewis


–Adapted from Leonard Sweet

Infinite Enjoyment

What is the essence of heaven?… [It is the] beatific vision, love, and enjoyment of the triune God. For the three divine persons have an infinitely perfect vision and love and enjoyment of the divine essence and of one another. And in this infinite knowing loving and enjoying lies the very life of the triune God, the very essence of their endless and infinite happiness. If the blessed are to be endlessly and supremely happy, then, they must share in the very life of the triune God, in the divine life that makes Them endlessly and infinitely happy.

–E. J. Fortman

Heaven could not hold Him

It is as if Jesus had said: ‘The truth is, I cannot live without you. I shall never be quiet till I have you where I am, that we may never part again. Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father’s company, if you are not with me – my heart is so set upon you. And if I have any glory, you shall be part of it too.”

–Thomas Goodwin (1600 – 1680)

Crucial choices

People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.’ I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other. 

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 02/15/2012 at 6:41  Leave a Comment  
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The beginning of the real story

“… but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And . . . we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world . . . had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning chapter one of the great story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/26/2011 at 15:00  Leave a Comment  
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I shall be with Him

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim,
But it’s enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.

–Richard Baxter

Published in: on 09/25/2011 at 17:05  Leave a Comment  
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Too easily pleased

essence-of-paradise

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/22/2011 at 13:12  Leave a Comment  
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Making choices

People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.’ I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/21/2011 at 12:43  Leave a Comment  
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Joy in God

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here . . . (These) are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the ocean.

–Jonathan Edwards

Published in: on 09/19/2011 at 23:03  Leave a Comment  
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Unstoppable goodness

Heaven is the pervading active presence of the Triune God. Because God is love, in heaven love flows like a mighty river and everyone will be swept up by the force and delight of its self giving passion. Because God is joy, in heaven no one is sour and somber; the atmosphere is alive with humour and laughter and enjoyment. Because God is holy, nothing will ever diminish or tarnish the unstoppable force of everlasting goodness and beauty.

–Jurgen Schulz

Published in: on 09/14/2011 at 0:35  Leave a Comment  
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Heaven’s serious business

Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we are placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest (most like) that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of heaven.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/08/2011 at 0:35  Leave a Comment  
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Never desired anything else

There have been times
when I think we do not
desire heaven
but more often
I find myself wondering
whether, in our heart of hearts,
we have ever desired
anything else.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/06/2011 at 2:55  Leave a Comment  
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Not far from home

Our fair morning
is at hand;
the day-star is near
the rising,
and we are not many
miles from home.

–Samuel Rutherford

Published in: on 09/04/2011 at 22:50  Leave a Comment  
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Increasing joy

Heaven is not just
the existence of joy,
it is the increase
of joy forever.

 –Sam Storms

Published in: on 09/03/2011 at 15:01  Leave a Comment  
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Too big for anything else

Everything except
heaven is boring,
because our hearts
are too big
for anything less.

–Peter Kreeft

Published in: on 09/02/2011 at 4:28  Leave a Comment  
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